Adopting a Housing First Approach

Emergency shelters are not a long-term housing option. Under A Plan for Alberta – Ending Homelessness in Alberta, government has adopted the Housing First approach to address homelessness – an important shift from managing homelessness to ending homelessness.

What is the Housing First approach?

This means that permanent housing is provided along with support services. Providing support services helps formerly homeless people maintain their housing over the long term.

Does this cost more?

Studies show it can cost upwards of $100,000 per year in health, emergency and justice system services to support a chronically homeless person. Under Housing First, it costs less than $35,000 per year to provide permanent housing and the supports they need to break the cycle of homelessness.

The business case is clear…and it is the right thing to do for individuals and communities.

Outreach Support Services

Under Alberta’s homelessness plan, funding is being provided to community-based organizations in the seven major cities, which work with community partners to deliver services necessary to meet the unique needs of the homeless. Funding is allocated based on factors such as population and shelter space usage in the community.

Funding is used for supports such as intensive medical, psychiatric and case management services to help people resolve the underlying causes of their homelessness. These services are key to ending homelessness, because they help those who are now housed to stay housed and keep on track to independence.

Homeless and Outreach Support Services – Statistics

Outreach Support Services Initiative (OSSI)





Funding Allocations:











Fort McMurray

$ 3,771,000

$ 3,596,000

$ 2,691,000

$ 2,691,000

Grande Prairie

$ 3,210,000

$ 3,252,000

$ 2,392,000

$ 2,392,000


$ 2,815,000

$ 3,095,000

$ 2,392,000

$ 2,392,000

Medicine Hat

$ 2,899,200

$ 2,933,200

$ 2,332,200

$ 2,332,200

Red Deer

$ 3,495,000

$ 3,540,000

$ 2,990,000

$ 2,990,000

Total Funding





Modified: 2015-11-16
PID: 15698